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Book Review: Jon Ronson--So You've Been Puclicly Shamed

Lorna Irvine reviews 'a timely, satirical read'.

The catalyst for this brilliant book was 2012, when journalist and documentary maker Jon Ronson noticed a namesake posting banal food Tweets online. He was curious as to why a "robot version of myself" was misrepresenting his views and tastes.

Thus began a three year research trip into the pernicious influence of social media-of how words can be misconstrued, twisted out of shape and, in the worst cases, wreck people's lives.

In this absorbing and pithy book, he talks of his ongoing battle with critic AA Gill; potential Nazi-themed orgies, the News of The World hacking scandal and Twitter jokes that ultimately backfired, leading to death threats.

What price for free speech? Are we going to be forced to police our every utterance? Is "the renaissance of public shaming" our modern equivalent of putting people in the stocks?

A timely, satirical read in the wake of recent cartoon controversies and backlashes, Ronson's voice is lucid, even-handed and bone dry, shocking and humorous. You may just rethink that Retweet.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed is out on hardback and ebook on March 12th, published by Picador:

Jon Ronson presents An Evening Of Public Shaming as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival at the Citizens Theatre: Friday, 20th March.

Photo by Emli Bendixen.

Tags: comedy books

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